You've made the cut—now cut a check. The New York Times today dives into just how much it costs to be in a sorority. The upshot: a lot, and it's a total that frequently isn't conveyed to women swept up in the excitement of rush. The first semester as a sister is usually the most expensive, and sorority girls at the University of Georgia, for example, will find themselves paying $1,570 in Panhellenic dues and a slew of fees (chapter, administrative, nonresident house, initiation). One Georgia State junior says she paid as much as $200 a month on top of her fees in sorority-related expenses, with the Times finding that "Bigs" often spend hundreds on gifts for new members, called "Littles."
"I was 17 and not thinking about billing," she tells the Times. "It was like signing up for a loan—they said the debt could go to a collections agency if you failed to pay." The time commitment is a hefty one, too, and sororities can actually issue fines if you miss an event, even if it was to do schoolwork (sometimes-legitimate excuses: a funeral or a doctor's appointment, assuming you have a note). In the case of UPenn's Alpha Delta Pi, missing a chapter meeting means a $10 fine; missing an event costs up to $100. One former member says she got a $50 fine waived after explaining she had to work, but she tells the Daily Pennsylvanian that sorority leaders requested she stay mum on that, saying the fines were used as a way to keep attendance high. (Read more sororities stories.)